Community Media group seeks more from FCC


The Alliance for Community Media (ACM) is applauding the FCC for its Future of Media report. However, the group says it is just a beginning and urges the Commission to do a lot more to encourage community-based media.

ACM notes that the actual name of the report is “The Information Needs of Communities:  The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age,” which is right in its area of focus.  “The Alliance for Community Media (ACM) applauds the work of the FCC.  While the report does not address all of the many issues faced by public, educational and governmental cable channels (community media centers) or propose specific recommendations to deal with noted concerns, the ACM is nonetheless pleased with the recommendations for partnerships and innovation contained in the report,” ACM said.

Steve Waldman, the primary architect of the report, spoke the day after the report was issued at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. ACM said he noted the need for access and more diversity in voices, particularly at the local and state level where news and information can be limited. “He also reiterated that non-profit media – which is well-suited to provide local and state coverage – includes not only public broadcasting, but also PEGs, LPFMs, journalism schools, non-profit news websites, SPANs and others,” said ACM. [Note: PEG refers to public, educational and government access cable channels.]

ACM Executive Director Sylvia Strobel has met with Waldman to discuss community media concerns and attended the Columbia University briefing. According to Strobel, the report “provides some critical next steps for our members to consider in diversifying revenue and editing business models to better reflect 21st century technology – all while continuing to provide critical local services.”

ACM notes that some recommendations in the report for community media include:

-Funding from CPB for PEG channels that produce educational programming;

-Exploration and action by community media centers to increase digital literacy and broadband adoption;

-Diversification of distribution platforms and partners to include not only non-commercial cable channels, but also nonprofit websites, LPFMs, SPANs, public radio or independent video programmers.